On July 13, we concluded our second full day of GRAMMY Camp® '09 with the Artist Story Panel. Eddie G, Mark Isham, Blake Lewis, Michael Lington, Lenka, and returning as the host, Lisa Foxx, all shared their knowledge and wisdom gained from their personal experiences in the music industry.
Eddie G is the music producer behind the productions in the hit Disney movie series High School Musical, and the hit television series Hannah Montana. I recognized him immediately. His casual dress and colorful shoes seemed to scream contemporary music producer. Eddie encouraged the panelists to be “authentic” and original, and be true to themselves in order to find themselves happy in music. Eddie reaches out to any young artists who are able and willing to become his understudy or otherwise learn from him during his time in his recording studio.
Sitting on the far end of the row was Mark Isham, who was the most experienced, and carried himself as if he knew so. He gave the impression of a wise man who has done many works of greatness, yet, was in general a humble soul. Isham is also a music producer but with a different taste not so similar to Eddie G. Isham was a student of classical music and when he was very young he learned how to play trumpet, violin, and piano. When his family moved to San Francisco, he found himself in the '60s rock scene, and got performance gigs with local rock bands. Since then he has won five GRAMMYs, as well as five Emmy Awards, and an Academy Award, as well as a number of significant others honors.
Most familiar amongst all the panelists was Blake Lewis, a former American Idol finalist. He is a vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist, drummer, and beat boxer. He kept the audience laughing with small remarks and sound effects that proved him to be a great character. “I love noise,” Blake explained to us. “In school I was the nerdy kid in class making all the sound effects.” He tells us the story of how he was inspired by another local artist who did beat boxing for an a capella group. He was amazed to see someone making noise as an art form of music and was surprised to see how successful their performances were, so he practiced beat boxing and started his own acapella group.
The two international artists, Michael Lington and Lenka, gave the most diversity to the panel. Michael Lington from Copenhagen, Denmark is a smooth jazz saxophonist, and a recipient of a number of international jazz music awards. Lenka is an international Australian pop singer, pianist and TV actress, and she has just commenced a concert tour in Asia.
All the panelists were living proof of two thing: hard work pays off, and following your dreams is always the right way to go.